Bill Watch 2015: Prospects for Indiana Clean Energy Policy

Indiana’s Clean Energy Progress

HEC can point to some really encouraging developments related to clean electricity in Indiana, including the largest airport solar farm in the world and nearly 1,000 wind turbines in our state.

But Our Lagging Policy Climate

HEC and our partners have worked for many years to make Indiana a more hospitable place for clean energy, including advocating for a Renewable Electricity Standard, PACE financing, strong net metering, modern energy efficiency building codes and a comprehensive energy efficiency program.

While we can point to some major successes, especially related to net metering, Indiana’s policy climate for clean energy is generally much weaker than our Midwest peers, from the absence of a mandatory Renewable Electricity Standard to the absence of PACE financing, a tool to promote low-cost financing for small-scale solar as well as for building retrofits.

2013 and 2014: Two Setbacks to Indiana Clean Energy Policy

In 2013, Indiana passed a sweeping energy bill, called SB 560.   By reducing government oversight of major, multi-million (if not billion) dollar decisions on the part of Indiana’s largest power companies related to transmission & distribution infrastructure,  SB 560 disincents Indiana’s power companies from choosing less expensive, more environmentally-friendly alternatives  to more transmission and distribution infrastructure.

In 2014, Indiana became the first state in the U.S. to abolish its statewide energy efficiency program, in a decision that has since destabilized Indiana’s energy efficiency job market and needlessly will lead to an increase, in the long-run, of energy bills compared to if the program had remained in place.

2015: A Chance for Indiana Policymakers to Redeem Themselves

HEC is under no illusions that the 2015 Indiana General Assembly will once again be a challenge to make progress on clean energy.

  • Lobbyists for the big electric power companies may attempt to weaken Indiana’s policies related to net metering, which enable homeowners, businesses, and places of worship, etc. to get credit on their electricity bills for any excess power that they feed into the grid.
  • Ideological lawmakers may attempt to deceive the public into thinking that Indiana has resurrected its now-abolished “Energizing Indiana” efficiency program, but in reality these lawmakers are likely to propose an energy efficiency program that is far weaker for Indiana – meaning less jobs, less energy savings, and less investment in this promising sector for Indiana’s economy.

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